Five Awesome Whitewater Rafting Scenes in Movies

White water rafting is supposed to be a lot of fun. It’s challenging, but that’s part of the fun. If everyone could do it then it wouldn’t be as much fun because the rivers would be more choked with people than they already are every summer. What’s vital for white water rafting though is that you know what you’re doing, or you have a guide. There’s no way you want to risk going down the rapids without having a clue as to how to steer, how to veer away from rocks, and what to do if your raft flips over, which it can do quite easily. In the movies they make it look easy but they also make it look real in some ways since there’s no way to really fake the rapids unless you really want to go the CGI route, which would be lame.

Here are a few movies in which white water rafting, or another form of traversing the rapids, is shown to be no joke.

5. Vacation

There are ways to go about safely filming a white water rapids scene of course, even without faking it, but one thing you never want to do is get into a raft with a guide that has just become severely emotional. The rapids are a great place for accidents to happen and a guy that just had his heart broken might not be in the right frame of mind to be taking YOUR FAMILY down the rapids.

4. Deliverance

Yes they’re in canoes but it counts since they’re on the rapids. What they find out really quickly however is that it’s not quite as easy as they had thought it would be. The rapids these guys go down aren’t quite as challenging as they could be, in fact they’re nowhere close as some areas in the country, or the world. But give them credit for putting this scene into the movie, all most people remember is ‘squeal like a pig’.

3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

First comes the death-defying drop that should have flattened them all like pancakes considering how high up they were. Then comes the fact that sliding right off of a cliff would not allow them to drift lazily into the river like a feather, but instead fold the raft in half and cause them to plummet like rubber-encased stones. Then a nice trip down the rapids that should have beaten what was left of them into mush finally spills them out into a calmer portion of the river. That’s way too lucky even for Hollywood.

2. Without a Paddle

So here’s a tip. If the river’s getting too wild and you don’t know what to do, veer to the side if at all possible. Find something to hook your oar on and hold on for dear life. Don’t throw your hands up and proclaim that you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s the wrong time for such sentiment and it might very well make your friends curse you repeatedly for the few seconds you might have to live.

1. The River Wild

If you’re carrying two very unwanted passengers along the rapids then there are plenty of chances to lose them. The trouble is making sure they stay lost. The rapids aren’t entirely forgiving of those that fall into them, especially the higher class areas that are known to pummel the inexperienced and leave only memories behind. This movie was actually pretty exciting for being a Meryl Streep film.

White water rafting is a lot of fun, but learn what you’re doing first before getting wet.

There’s also scenes from “White Water Summer” and “A River Runs Through it” that deserve honorable mention.


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